Days of protest

The Century and the war in Vietnam

Part of the fabric of public life in America during the post–World War II years, perhaps the cross-stitch that held the symbolic boundaries in place, was anticommunism. Most mainline church editors were part of it. The launching of Sputnik in 1957 provoked a “crisis” and, explained a Century editorial, exploded the “assumption of a kind of general, built-in American superiority” (January 1, 1958). Over the next few years, the editors became certain there existed an absolute incompatibility between Christianity and communism. Though a 1961 editorial warned readers not to “commit the great blasphemy of confusing democracy with the kingdom of God,” its author, most likely Harold Fey, intoned that “Christianity and communism cannot coexist in the same person any more than Christianity can share the same disciple with Buddhism or Islam” (November 15, 1961).

 

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